The move, affecting BMW and MINI outlets, has been made in the wake of proposed changes to the block exemption, and gives the 154 dealers a year to reapply. It has been made in order to incorporate more flexible working practices under the new block exemption, such as third party servicing, or multi-marque showrooms.
BMW does not expect the new block exemption to affect the way it does business: dealers are unlikely to want to dilute such a strong brand with multi-marque showrooms, or outsource profitable servicing.
However, a spokesman said there may be a few dealers who are not offered new franchises. He said: 'It's an opportunity to review the network and there may be some that are not retained.'
He claimed the move was not similar to Mercedes-Benz's recent tactic, which aimed to bring a number of dealerships under its control, adding: 'We believe the best way to retail cars is through an independent network. We have no plans to extend BMW owned dealers.'
BMW only runs two dealerships, Park Lane and Park West in London.